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Gillibrand's Role in Franken Scandal May Cost Her

Politico reports that big donors are angry with her for forcing his resignation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2018 1:52 PM CST
In this 2011 photo, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., center, accompanied by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., left, and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – If Kirsten Gillibrand decides to run for president, Politico reports that she shouldn't expect help from several big Democratic donors during the primaries. The reason? Her role in forcing Al Franken to resign last year. The website talks to more than a dozen big donors and bundlers on both coasts who say they will not donate to the New York senator or help her raise money. If Gillibrand ends up as the nominee, that would change, but she won't be getting any help before then. The gist of the sentiment is that Gillibrand led a rush to judgment on Franken before the sexual harassment allegations against him were properly vetted. “I do hear people refer to Kirsten Gillibrand as ‘opportunistic’ and shrewd at the expense of others to advance herself and it seems to have been demonstrated in her rapid treatment of her colleague Al Franken,” donor Susie Tompkins Buell tells Politico.

"I know [Gillibrand] thought she was doing the right thing, but I think she will be remembered by this," she adds. Gillibrand, for her part, has staunchly defended her role. When George Soros voiced a similar complaint against her in August, she responded, “If standing up for women who have been wronged makes George Soros mad, that’s on him.” A post at Jezebel suggests it's unfair for the likes of Tompkins Buell to punish Gillibrand, whose call for Franken to step down was quickly joined by other female lawmakers. "That Democratic donors are now withholding their money from Gillibrand is a reminder that there are costs for speaking up—and powerful people ready to enforce them," writes Clio Chang. (Gillibrand seems to be extending her reach nationally.)

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